Community Activation Network (CAN)

Community Activation Network (CAN)


What is the Community Activation Network?

The Community Activation Network (CAN) is a CNPE initiative. It aspires to be a network of people and organizations whose goal is to create and nurture a thriving nonprofit / social impact ecosystem marked by inclusion, co-creation, and interdependence. It is founded on the belief that collective voices and efforts are powerful – indeed, all of us together can accomplish more for our community than any of us can individually.

So, what does that look like?

In terms of specific function and structure, frankly, we aren’t entirely sure yet. But it will certainly involve expanded connections, strengthened relationships, and co-created collective action, resulting in transformational change within our nonprofit community and beyond.

We hope CAN will be a space where every voice is heard, where information and ideas flow from every corner of our community. We hope it will be a space where we can create shared understanding and we can learn from one another on a whole range of topics. We hope it will be a space where creative thinking and sharing and learning lead to decisive action on critical priorities that transform our community.

In terms of how we will work together, CAN’s guiding principles are clear:

  • Ensure authentic diversity, equity, and inclusion through all CAN work
  • Co-create priorities with a bias toward action and change
  • Share learning and ownership throughout the sector
  • Value strength of relationships over strength of individuals (power with vs power over)
  • Expand what is good and assess opportunities for growth
  • Share and be a catalyst for connections, access, information and resource flow
  • Exemplify and advocate

Why this now?

The pandemic. The resurgent call for racial justice. The struggle to communicate across so many different lines within our community. An unprecedented time of challenge and change. But, with so many others, we believe this is also an unprecedented time of possibility and opportunity. We have the potential to learn so much from these troubles and become more than we are, if only we can come together – all of us – to listen, learn, and then act.

So, what is going on with CAN now?

An organizing group made up of nonprofit / social impact sector stakeholders has begun the conversation, sharing information through a series of interview questions. You can find an analysis of the responses here.

These stakeholders gathered one in August and again in October to discuss the interview results and their meaning and to broadly identify next steps – among them, to expand CAN as soon as possible. The group plans to meet monthly.

We will be sharing information from these interviews with our community through various forums in various formats.

Watch this space!

We’re just beginning. We’re still trying to figure out how to build this network in a way that invites and includes voices from all over our community. We will continue to share updates and invite your participation as we go along. In the meantime, stay tuned!